Controversies around Lidl’s paid service on the ramp. For the German union it is „a big step into the future”

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The discussion is still ongoing in Germany regarding the new service during unloading offered by a chain of stores. The German transport and logistics organization defends Lidl’s paid solution which can facilitate the work of drivers.

Although over a month past since Lidl chain announced the introduction of paid additional service on the ramp, the topic still raises a lot of controversy among German carriers. Most of them do not spare criticism. However, one of the most important transport organizations in Germany – DSLV (German Freight Forwarding and Logistics Association) sees positive aspects of the paid solution.

Matthias Krage, vice president of the union, took the floor last week. According to him, Lidl moves the industry by a „light year ahead”. In the piloting of the German network, Krage, who is the head of the forwarding company, sees the basis for talks with his clients. They may want to introduce similar services.

What’s all the noise about?

At the end of August, Lidl announced the implementation of a new, rather controversial solution. The network decided, as part of the pilot program, to offer the carriers an access to the express ramp and unloading carried out by their own staff. The cost of this service is 40 euros. The unloading is to last no longer than 90 minutes.

In addition to the „express ramp”, it is possible to order unloading at unusual hours. As a standard, in Lidl distribution centers, the goods are picked up between 12 pm and 6 pm. However, it happens that drivers do not arrive at the appointed time due to traffic jams. For this purpose, it is also necessary to book such a service through the Mercareon platform. The cost of rescheduling the unloading is 100 euros. As the company emphasizes, this solution means that truckers do not have to wait for the ramp up to the next day.

The pilot project concerns 6 out of 39 Lidl logistics centers in Germany. So far, there is no plan to introduce such offer in other countries.

DSLV: Better pay than wait for hours

Representatives of DSLV suggested that they would prefer to pay a fee for quick unloading than to wait for hours on the square.

It is better to pay the sum of X and unload the truck in 90 minutes, than wait three hours and charge the payer for the unloading downtime” explained Krage. For the vice-president of DSLV, however, it is clear that this cost is borne by the customer.

Some German carriers criticize the idea

The Thuringian Transport Association (LTV) criticizes Lidl’s additional services, accusing the network of being a poorly balanced business model.

Every entrepreneur tries to use the production time optimally, and long periods of waiting and unloading prevent the optimal production process,” explains Martin Kammer, head of LTV.

According to the Thuringian organization, the model adopted by Lidl could only be checked if the cost of the additional service is covered by the sender.

At relatively low freight rates, 100 euros and sometimes 40 euros represents the entire profit of the carrier for transport realized for Lidl,” emphasizes Kammer.

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